The second matchday of the UEFA Champions League brought goal-packed action once again with no surprising results this time around. An impressive 45 goals were scored, and 11 clean sheets were kept across the 16 fixtures.
In terms of UCL Fantasy, it was a mixed week with captaincy favorite Robert Lewandowski failing to deliver for the second consecutive match. It’s shocking how Bayern have scored six goals in two matches but the Polish striker hasn’t been involved in any of them. Alert: Here’s when we need to be patient and not chase strikers in a similar (or even lower) price range as Lew is a proven goal scorer who can easily compensate for two or three dull matches with one breakout. Also, swapping premium players never works, so it’s always better to stick to one and be patient for the returns.
So, let’s look ahead to a brand new opportunity in the form of matchday 3 and explore the players who are expected to perform well in this week’s fixtures to help you boost your fantasy rankings.
Wojciech Szczęsny (Juventus, €5.5m) - vs Ferencvaros (A)
Juventus was convincingly beaten by Barcelona in Turin on matchday 2. Juve now has three easy fixtures until matchday 6 when facing the Blaugranas again at the Camp Nou. Juve plays Ferencvaros away from home this week and this is only expected to go one way. The polish shot-stopper is a great option for the remaining matches in the group stage alongside Edouard Mendy from Chelsea. The sides they’ll face for the next three fixtures don’t have the quality anywhere near to that of the Italian champions, so expect good returns on both ends of the pitch. Szczęsny is a great option in his price range for the remaining group stage.
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea, €5m) - vs Rennes (H)
He was here last week, and he finds a spot in our picks once again. The Chelsea defense is showing promising signs of strengthening and faces very favorable fixtures up until the end of the group stage with the exception of Sevilla. Chelsea hosts Rennes which hasn’t looked convincing in front of the goal. The French shot-stopper is owned by just 6% of the players which makes him a pretty good differential as well. He is a better option than Szczęsny in my opinion given the price and the fact that the Blues have kept 5 clean sheets in the last 6 matches.
Gerard Pique (Barcelona, €5.5m) - vs Dynamo Kyiv (H)
It’s rare that we can get the main CB of Barcelona in UCL Fantasy at such a low price as compared to similar defenders. Barcelona hasn’t performed the way we expect in the Champions League for a few seasons now, but the performances this season under Koeman have brought optimism back to the Camp Nou. Just like Juventus, Barca faces three very comfortable fixtures starting from matchday 3, so I am expecting returns from the Spanish defender at both ends of the pitch, and at just 2% ownership, a punt on him might work wonders given his attacking prowess from set-pieces.
Jules Kounde (Sevilla, €4m) - vs Krasnodar (H)
He is the bargain of the season for me. At just €4m, he is part of a Sevilla team that has kept consecutive clean sheets in UCL this season, and he faces only one tricky fixture against Chelsea before the end of the group stage. He missed the opening match having been diagnosed with COVID, but he was back in the starting 11 for the second game against Rennes. He is a must-have due to his price and team. Another clean sheet is highly likely against Krasnodar at home so if you don’t already own him, get him in!
Danilo (Juventus, €5m) - vs Ferencvaros (A)
Danilo has started every single game for Juventus this season. He looks like a sure starter no matter what formation Pirlo decides to go with. As mentioned above, the Italian champions have a fairly easy set of remaining matches in the group stage, so there is plenty of potential for clean sheets and goals for an attacking defender like the former Real Madrid man. Surprisingly, he is owned by just 2% of fantasy managers, so this could be a great opportunity to climb the rankings by pouncing onto the Brazilian early to reap the rewards. He faces Ferencvaros away from home in what is expected to be an easy victory for Juventus, so I am backing him to deliver us decent fantasy points.
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United, €9.5m) - vs Istanbul Basaksehir (A)
United absolutely demolished RB Leipzig on matchday 2 by putting five goals in the net at Old Trafford. Leipzig is no easy team to beat, nor is PSG, but United looked sharp in both of fixtures, scoring a total of seven goals. This should be a comfortable victory for the Red Devils and might prove a fruitful fixture in terms of fantasy returns. Bruno is pivotal to whatever the Red Devils do in attack; he is the best option in UCL fantasy among the United attackers because he has penalty and set-piece duties. They now face two consecutive matches against Istanbul Basaksehir, so I am expecting plenty of goals in those two games with Fernandes heavily involved.
Ansu Fati (Barcelona, €8.2m) - vs Dynamo Kyiv (H)
This guy is just phenomenal! He showed glimpses of how good he can be last season under Setien, but he has been unstoppable in this one as he seems to have Ronald Koeman’s trust and confidence. He already has a goal and two assists to his name in two games, and I fully expect him to build on that in the coming fixtures. Barca faces Dynamo Kyiv at home on matchday 3, coming into this game as heavy favorites after their impressive win against Juventus in Italy. Fati is a great pick, a must-have given his high ownership. Barcelona’s next three fixtures offer him a great chance to score good points, and every return from him can hurt your rank massively if you don’t own him.
Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla, €8.5m) - vs Krasnodar (H)
This is my maverick pick of the week. Sevilla registered a whopping 23 shots and possession of 66% in their game against Rennes. I consider Rennes to be a better team than Krasnodar, so this could well turn into a massive victory for the Sevillistas. I am a fan of Ocampos and his work-rate. He already has seven points in two games and faces two consecutive fixtures against an opposition they should have little trouble getting past. At just 2%, he is massively under-owned, but he provides great value and has nice fixtures to reward you with a good chunk of fantasy points.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, €12m) - vs Ferencvaros (A)
Being a Messi fan, it pains me to say that that best player in the Champions League will be back in action on matchday 3. Now, this is where things get a bit tricky. Messi, Lewandowski and Ronaldo are all priced at €12m with Juventus and Barcelona having a fairly easy group. It’s impossible to ignore the Polish striker, so it’s going to take some pondering to decide which one(s) to go with. With Ronaldo, you know what you’re getting if you’ve played UCL Fantasy before, so there is little justification to be done here. All three of them are equally good options, so it’s better to pick one and stick to him and take “two” on the chin some weeks so you can reap the rewards when your hero comes through.
Luis Suarez (Atlético Madrid, €10m) - vs Lokomotiv Moscow (A)
The Uruguayan striker seems to have settled into life at the Wanda Metropolitano fairly quickly. He has scored four goals and provided an assist in five games in La Liga. He faces an away fixture against Lokomotiv Moscow this week, and for a Diego Simeone side, Atletico has been scoring quite a lot of goals, so expect the former Barcelona legend to do well in the next couple fixtures in UCL. He’s not someone I would ideally want long term, but if you have an under performing striker in that price range, then he is a great shout for the short term.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, €12m) - vs Dynamo Kyiv (H)
Messi completes the forward picks for this week alongside his best friend and his biggest rival. Firstly, I don’t buy the argument that his heart isn’t at Barcelona this season, even given the whole episode of him wanting to leave but having to stay in the end. For someone who has watched him play for 7-8 seasons, I see no difference in his dedication or commitment to the club. That aside, he has performed to his usual standards in the UCL, and I expect that to continue against Dynamo Kyiv at home. If you’ve got him, then it might be tempting to go sideways to get Ronaldo, but I would definitely hold because of his fixtures and lethality.
I will be listing the best captaincy options for each day in decreasing order of their reliability and expected points on a given matchday. It will be a mix of strong picks expected to be backed by a lot of fantasy managers as well as some cheeky differentials if you’re a thrill seeker. Here’s my picks for the third matchday:
- Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
- Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
- Timo Werner (Chelsea)
- Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Good luck everyone and may your arrows be green!
Have you made your transfers yet? Whom above are you watching? Is there anyone who was left out of this article whom you would recommend? Which match do you most want to watch as a fan? Please let us know in the comments!